Minister of Health Bounkong Syhavong, left, addresses a launching ceremony for a flagship initiative “Support to the Lao PDR National Nutrition Strategy and Plan of Action” in Vientiane on Sep 9, 2019

(KPL) The European Union has provided a financial support of EUR 50 million to improve a nutrition programme in the Lao PDR.

The finance launched a new EUR 50 million flagship initiative “Support to the Lao PDR National Nutrition Strategy and Plan of Action” that will help reduce malnutrition in the country.  The event took place in Vientiane Capital on September 9.

Witnesses at the lunching ceremony included Minister of Health Bounkong Syhavong, European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica and Deputy Ministers of Planning and Investment Kikeo Chanthaboury.

This new financial contribution of EUR 50 million reaffirms the European Union’s commitment to remain a reliable and long-term partner for the Lao PDR. Through the Budget Support modality, and in line with the European Consensus on Development and the Vientiane Declaration on Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation, the European Union is committed to being as streamlined as possible with the national systems in the Lao PDR.

The 4 years’ programme will provide support directly to the citizens of the Lao PDR in addressing the different causes of malnutrition in rural districts and remote areas, with specific focus on gender and disadvantaged groups.

The specific objectives of the progamme are to improve quality of nutrient intake, to increase access to, and quality of, nutrition-related services and to improve nutrition related multi-sectoral governance.

“In 2019, we have entered the fourth year of implementation of the National Nutrition Strategy and Plan of Action. According to the implementation progress report, 22 nutrition interventions have been implemented in provinces, districts and priority villages,” said Dr. Bounkong Syhavong.

“Quality of nutrition services has also been improved nationwide. The chair of the National Nutrition Committee, National Assembly and the government have paid close attention to approval of allocation of budgets that are limited to relevant sectors to implement the nutrition interventions at local level,” said Dr. Bounkong.

“Each year one out of three children under the age of five or more than three hundred thousand children of our future generations grow up with underdeveloped brains and bodies, affected by malnutrition. From now until 2022, the EU Budget Support programme with a total amount of EUR 50 million will be implemented nationwide,” added Dr. Bounkong.

KPL